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Turkey's leader will work to approve Sweden's NATO bid ASAP, the alliance's head says
Updated July 10, 2023 at 4:40 PM ET
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey's leader has agreed to secure swift Turkish parliament approval of Sweden's bid to join the defense alliance, in a breakthrough after Turkey has blocked the Nordic country's entry for over a year.
Following talks the NATO chief held Monday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Stoltenberg said in a news conference, "I'm glad to announce that, as a result, President Erdogan has agreed to forward the accession protocol for Sweden to the Grand National Assembly as soon as possible and work closely with the assembly to ensure ratification."
President Biden issued a statement following Stoltenberg's talks with the two leaders, saying he's "ready to work" with Turkey on enhanced defense and looks forward to "welcoming Prime Minister Kristersson and Sweden as our 32nd NATO Ally."
Turkey has held up Sweden's NATO membership since last year, citing concerns about militants Turkey says are present in Sweden.
But in a surprise move earlier Monday, Erdogan said his government could approve Sweden's bid to join NATO if European countries also "open the way" for Turkey to join the European Union.
The European Commission, however, said those are two completely separate tracks. Commission spokesperson Dana Spinant told reporters "you cannot link the two processes."
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